So, you’ve passed your A-levels, confirmed your place at university and in a couple of weeks you will be packing up your life to become a fully fledged adult in society. It’s a pretty scary thought knowing that your mum won’t be there to wash your clothes, your dad won’t be there to pick you up after a night out and you actually have to buy your own toilet roll and cook your own dinner.
You've probably heard the horror stories of people living off dry pasta, beans on toast and working by the light of a candle to save cash. We've all been there and it's grim AF.
Having heard these stories it's slightly disconcerting that, according to the National Student Money Survey 2017, a lot of students have very little clue about student finance. Which is sort of funny considering it’s one of the most important things you need to attend (and survive) university. In fact without it, you’re screwed.
So let’s look at the facts:
What am I paying for, sorry?
So when you apply for student finance, you’re actually applying for two things: tuition fees (to pay for those 9am lectures you probably won’t get out of bed for) and your maintenance loan which covers your books (...bevs) and your studying supplies (...pizza).
So how much is that then?
Each year, your tuition can cost up to £9250 and if you move away from home you can receive up to £8430 in maintenance loan (£11,002 if you move to London). If you contact your university you could also be entitled to grants and bursaries if you come from a lower income family or you have dependents- which you won’t have to pay back.
Realistically, for most of you, this is the most money your bank balance will have ever seen. Before you let yourself get carried away (because you most definitely will), check out our Beginner’s Guide to Budgeting so you can at least try and make that money stretch past freshers.
Shiiiit I’ll be in so much debt- when do I have to pay it back?
The fact of the matter is that the majority of people will never pay off all of their student debt and in a way, this should lessen the stress for you. After 30 years (you’ll be about 50 years old), all of your outstanding debt will get written off and although this seems like a million years away for you, it will come around a lot quicker than you think.
The people who benefit most from this are those who enter higher paid graduate jobs and those earning under £21,000 per year- because unless you earn over this threshold, you won’t be required to pay anything back.
Either way, the government take it out of your paycheck each month without you even noticing so don’t let it affect your career choices. And just a heads up, you may not be thinking about your future home right now but it's good to know that not having paid off your student debt doesn’t count against you when applying for a mortgage.
If you need a bit of help with managing your money then download Loot here. The app lets you create a daily and weekly budget so, hopefully, you won't be short of cash at the end of the month.